We try to meet up with Monkey’s godmum (my oldest friend) and her now 9-year-old daughter as often as we can. They live in Wiltshire, so we try to find places of interest for both children to explore somewhere halfway whenever possible. I’ve been meaning to take Monkey to Crocodiles of the World for ages, and figured it would be a good bet for a February meet up. Based just outside Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, it was easily accessible for all.
Monkey and I got to the Crocodile Zoo just as it was opening and parked up. I’d built up my Nectar points so was able to exchange them for a £15 days out voucher, so it only cost the 2 of us 45p to enter! I do like a bargain day out.
Mummy are they real? Yes they are Monkey, they’re Caiman – remember you saw some on Andy’s Wild Adventures on CBeebies? No, Mummy, they are not real! Oh, but they are.
Godmum and Miss M arrived shortly after us and after a quick whizz around the main zoo area we grabbed a coffee and juice in the cafe area and planned our day.
The kids were eager to get started and so we had a look at the Iguanas and Tortoises being fed first. It’s fair to say that the tortoises were far more active that the Iguanas!
Monkey was fascinated with these two – he really wasn’t convinced that a number of the exhibits were actually live as they were so still.
Crocodiles of the world is home to a host of Nile Crocodiles, American alligators, Black Caiman, as well as Giant Tortoises and snakes. There is a children’s quiz to complete and plenty of information points throughout.
A 5 year old Monkey was interested in what the animals ate, and Miss M could learn more about where each animal lived. It was great to be somewhere that really captivated them both.
We definitely wanted to see the crocodile feeding so we headed to the Crocodile House for the first display of the day. It has to be said that there is a certain smell in the air in the big barn homing a large number of Nile Crocodiles. Some might find it a bit overwhelming, but for a child obsessed with all thing pooh, Monkey wasn’t bothered at all.
It’s worth getting to the crocodile house early, in time for the feeding sessions as it gets really busy. We found a prime spot and the kids enjoyed looking down onto the bask of crocodiles.
We all learnt something from the talk given by the keeper – I had no idea that crocs can be trained to respond to a name or that they can go months between meals. The children were totally enthralled.
It was coming up to lunchtime and as the inside cafe area is quite small we left the feeding session early to ensure we could get a table. There are sessions throughout the day so we knew we could come back again later.
Between the main zoo area and the crocodile house there is a play area and picnic tables, but being February we had decided on buying lunch rather than bringing our own.
The only weak spot to our day at Crocodiles of the World was definitely the cafe really. For a family friendly attraction we felt the children could be better catered for on the food front. There were no kids lunch boxes which I always think work well with kids; especially fussy eaters. Miss M has a few allergy issues and the sandwiches including mayonnaise, pickle and egg were not an option for her. The assistant did find her one ham salad sandwich which she could eat. Monkey was more than happy with his sandwich and apple juice, but we heard a grandfather later in the day whose grandson didn’t like mayonnaise. It’s an area which could do with some improvement, but it didn’t stop us enjoying the day.
After lunch Monkey and Miss M were off again exploring.
There were snakes to see, one had the kids spellbound as it climbed up the wall of its enclosure.
There was also an area where you could see alligator hatchlings of various ages.
Monkey really enjoyed seeing these small reptiles and found it hard to believe how huge they would one day become.
There was so much for the children to take in and they could wander around as much as they liked.
We decided it was time for some fun outdoors and for a Crocodile Dundee moment!
When we were kids, Guru Gramps had a large aviary in our garden and we had a couple of Macaws, I’ve loved them ever since, so it was lovely to see a couple here too.
There is also a chance for children to hold a young alligator and have their photo taken.
Whilst Monkey was happy to just stroke the alligator, Miss M was feeling brave and enjoyed her moment with the alligator. There are photo packages available, with a jungle background being added to the photos, if you choose to buy.
Then we were off to see their grown up family members!
We all got to feel a snake and see giant tortoises, and other reptiles including monitor lizards. Monkey was rather impressed when I told him I’d seen them in the wild. When our day was over, it was obvious that the children had really enjoyed themselves. In fact, when Monkey and I got home he spent the rest of the day reliving the things we’d seen and held a number of crocodile feeding sessions with his toy crocs. That tells me that Crocodiles of the World is a great day out. We can thoroughly recommend.